Vinay Raval and Beck Underwood make an appointment for a Q & A session with veterinarian Sally Haddock.
On a busy evening at St. Marks Vet, between lovebirds and pit bulls, we slipped into a brightly lit examination room to talk with Sally Haddock about her interesting career.
We learned a lot about the long hours, the little rewards, and the funny moments that are all part of an average day with this caring veterinarian.
What influenced you to become a veterinarian?
The dog I had as a little girl, Topsie. I used to give her birthday parties.
What does it feel like to be a veterinarian?
Great, but sometimes sad when an animal has to be put down. But mostly it feels great.
How long did it take to finish school to be a veterinarian?
4 years of undergraduate college, 4 years of veterinarian school and then I did 3 years of residencies.
How many days a week and hours a day do you work?
10 hours a day is average. Sometimes I work up to 13 hours a day. Usually I work 5 - 7 days a week.
Is anyone in your family a doctor for people?
About how loud is the loudest scream an animal can make when you give it a shot?
The loudest scream I've ever heard was from a pot belly pig.
What animal is the easiest to cure?
Well, that depends, a dog with worms is really easy to cure with medicine. A person can bring in a diabetic cat that seems about to die and I just give it a shot of insulin and, within minutes, it perks right up and starts to play again.
Has any very sick animal that you have treated died?
Yes, ones with cancer, it makes me very upset.
What animal do you like to treat the most?
Nice ones with no teeth or sharp beaks.
Do you have a favorite animal?
Myriah, my golden retriever, I call her "The best dog that ever lived!" She died this fall and I miss her very, very much.
Do you have a least favorite animal?
A dog that is trying to attack me from across the room.
Are you a vegetarian since you love animals?
No, I am not a vegetarian, but I don't eat much red meat.
What do you think about poachers who kill animals for their skins?
They are horrible and should try to find something better to do, like go to jail.
Did you ever deliver any baby animals?
Just lots of puppies and kittens.
Have you ever treated a porcupine?
No, but I have taken their quills out of the noses of dogs. They are shaped like little barbs that go in easy and come out very painfully.
Have you ever treated any wild animals?
Once I treated an elephant with a bruise. I just watched it go away. I've also worked with bears and exotic birds, some camels and a local squirrel.
Do you give animals baths and cut their nails?
Yes we do, myself and my technicians.
What is your busiest season?
The spring and fall are the busiest seasons because animals spend more time out of doors Winter is the slowest.
What is your favorite animal book?
A book called Tawny, I can't even remember what it was about.
If an animal is very sick, how long do they stay in your care?
If it is very sick, it could be for up to two weeks. Mostly the animals come in for things that take 2 - 5 days.
Do you know if scientists have found out if animals can read in their minds?
Well, I know some animals seem to watch television, but I don't know about reading.
Have you ever been hurt in your job?
Once a fox terrier jumped up and bit me on my eyebrow.
How often should we bring our pets to see a veterinarian?
If they are healthy, just for checkups. Rabbits, birds and cats once a year. Dogs, twice a year.
Is there a special way to hold your pets?
Like you would like to be treated, with Tender Loving Care.
Sally Haddock is a veterinarian and owner of St. Marks Vet. She lives in NYC with her family, two dogs, and one cat. Over the course of her life she has had over 12 pets, and once had 36 birds! Dr. Haddock is the coauthor of The Making of a Woman Vet a book about her own experiences of becoming a vet.
Vinay Raval lives in NYC and attends the United Nations International School. He hopes to become a basketball player when he grows up and up!
- first published in the May/June 1993 issue of ZuZu.